Imaging capabilities expanded
Three new diagnostic breast devices added
Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers has expanded its diagnostic breast imaging capabilities with the recent addition of breast MRI, MRI-guided breast biopsy and full-time availability of stereotactic breast biopsy.
Breast MRI uses radio waves and magnetic fields instead of X-rays to produce very detailed, cross-sectional images of the breast. While it doesn’t replace mammography, the American Cancer Society does recommend screening with MRI and mammography for most high risk women beginning at age 30.
In addition, breast MRI is often used to screen young women with very dense breasts, women or men who test positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 (breast cancer susceptibility genes), as well as women with palpable lumps that can’t be detected on a mammogram or ultrasound. For women who are diagnosed with cancer, breast MRI may be used to assist the doctor in treatment planning or to check the opposite breast for tumors.
“Along with screening for high risk women, breast MRI can be useful when we need more information than a mammogram, ultrasound or clinical breast exam can provide,” explains David Vanderkin, M.D., a board certified radiologist at Morris Hospital who holds a certificate of proficiency in the performance of MRI of the breast from the American College of Radiology.
“By no means does breast MRI replace mammography. However, there are situations when MRI is the preferred method of imaging for high risk women, as well as those with newly diagnosed cancers or previous breast surgery,” he adds.
If breast MRI detects an area of concern, a patient may undergo an MRI-guided breast biopsy. This technique uses magnetic resonance imaging to help guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of the abnormal breast growth. The radiologist then removes samples of breast tissue using a special needle, which are sent to the pathology laboratory for review.
An MRI-guided breast biopsy may also be performed in situations where a stereotactic-guided biopsy is not appropriate because the area of concern is not shown clearly by mammography or ultrasound, or when an abnormality is seen only on breast MRI and cannot be visualized by ultrasound or mammogram.
Along with the addition of breast MRI technology, Morris Hospital has also acquired its own stereotactic breast biopsy system, making the service available at Morris Hospital on a full-time basis. Previously, stereotactic breast biopsy was available just twice a month through a contractual agreement.
The new stereotactic breast biopsy system was funded by the Morris Hospital Foundation and includes $30,000 from the S.J. and Helen Holderman Morris Hospital Endowed Fund through the Community Foundation of Grundy County.
During stereotactic breast biopsy, a radiologist obtains a small cylinder of breast tissue using a unique biopsy needle that is guided to the suspicious area using the assistance of computer images. Dr. Vanderkin says stereotactic breast biopsy may be an alternative to a surgical breast biopsy and is typically performed when a mammogram shows a breast abnormality such as a suspicious solid mass or micro-calcifications.
The technique is also preferred when a distortion in the structure of the breast tissue is identified through imaging, or if there is an abnormal tissue change in the breast.
“Women don’t want to wait when they have a suspicious breast lesion that requires additional study,” says Dr. Vanderkin.
“Having stereotactic breast biopsy available on a full-time basis allows us to provide a much improved service for women in our community.”
In addition to breast MRI, MRI-guided breast biopsy and stereotactic breast biopsy, Morris Hospital offers digital mammography at the hospital and at the Morris Hospital Ridge Road Campus in Channahon. Weekday, weekday evening and weekend hours are available for mammography.
Morris Hospital recently expanded its MRI hours to seven days a week, along with evening hours on weekdays. MRI appointments can be scheduled Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.